Man, it's cold here today. I mean, bone chilling cold -- I know I'm preachin' to the choir for you girls who live up here in the north land, but it's -15. FIFTEEN BELOW ZERO!! The wind is howling, and the day's only saving grace is that the sun is shining brightly. I can handle this weather long in to April as long as the sun continues to show her face on a regular basis!
Today I made two GREAT recipes. I'm showing pictures of both, even though neither of them photographed all that well; you'll just have to take my word for it! This lasagna recipe is simple and delicious, and tastes like it was SO much more work than it was. Usually, I make Giada's basic marinara but today, I have to admit, I punted and used Rao's Marinara. This sauce has had incredible reviews and believe me, it ain't cheap. A 4c. jar was 9.89! Criminy! But, between the tomatoes and fresh basil Giada's calls for, the cost was probably comparable. Anyway, there are two sauces in this recipe -- a bechamel, and the aforementioned marinara, which make it so rich and decadent! I love it!
The biscotti are amazing, especially since I used Valrohna cocoa. Wow. It's worth it to use the best quality cocoa you can afford. I hope you guys try these recipes -- they're perfect for a cold winter day.
Lasagna Rolls with Two Sauces
2 T. butter
4 t. flour
1 1/4 whole milk
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. freshly ground pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 15-oz. container whole milk ricotta
1 10-oz. box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 c. plus 2 T. grated Parmesan
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 t. salt, plus more for pasta
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
12 dried lasagna noodles
butter, for baking dish
2 c. Giada's Quick Marinara (or good quality purchased sauce)
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Melt the butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the cream sauce.
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the egg, 3/4 t. salt, and the pepper until blended.
Bring a very large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the lasagna noodles and cook until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Drain. Arrange noodles in a single layer on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
Preheat oven to 450. Butter a 9 x 13" glass baking dish. Spread the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared pan.
Spread 3 T. of the spinach filling evenly over each lasagna noodle. Roll the noodles up and arrange the rolls, seam side down and not touching one another, atop the bechamel sauce. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls, then sprinkle with the mozzarella and remaining 2 T. Parmesan cheese. Cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake until the rolls are heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese on top is golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a small, heavy saucepan until hot. Transfer the sauce to a sauce boat and serve alongside.
Double Chocolate Biscotti
Makes 30 Biscotti
1 3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. sugar
6 T. butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla
8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in a large bowl to blend. Beat in eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in semisweet chips. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheet in two 10 - 11" long strips, spacing 3" apart. Using metal spatula or wet fingertips, shape strips into 11 x 2 1/2 " logs. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Bake logs until tops are cracked and dry and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325. Using parchment as an aid, transfer logs to a clean work surface. Re-line cookie sheet with clean parchment. Using serrated knife, gently cut warm logs crosswise into 3/4" slices. Arrange sliced cookies on prepared baking sheet. Bake biscotti until just dry to the touch, about 8 minutes. Turn biscotti over. Bake until top is dry to the touch, about another 8 minutes. Cool on baking sheets.